106th Rescue Wing returns from heroics in Caribbean

Over the last two weeks the men and women of the 106th Rescue Wing, based on Long Island, have rescued more than 2,100 people in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Days after returning from Texas where they airlifted hundreds from flood waters, many of the airmen redeployed days later to conduct search-and-rescue operations in the Caribbean.

Staff Sgt. Jordan Butler is one of the guardsmen who conducted missions in the wake of both hurricanes. Butler and his colleagues flew down to San Juan, Puerto Rico, last Thursday and evacuated Americans stranded on St. Martin, St. Thomas, and St. Croix. Butler said they saw houses with roofs blown off, planes tipped over, and debris everywhere.

The Air National Guardsmen flew aircraft load after load of Americans off of the islands. Tech Sgt. David Rosante said they loaded more than 100 evacuees onto an aircraft in St. Martin. When the plane started to take off, the evacuees chanted "USA! USA!"

C-130 crew chief Robert Sorrentino said the people they rescued had been through hell and that for them to say "thank you" to him and his crew meant a lot.

The airmen returned to West Hampton Tuesday night, grateful for the opportunity to help.